Protest? What protest?

There was not a word of this in the New York Times today, and only four inches of a narrow column hidden just past the comics section of the Daily News. But doesn't it seem worth some real notice when the pretend-president of a nation at war is successfully confronted by an eclectic group of hundreds of (by one Oregon paper's account, a thousand) citizen-demonstrators who are then pepper-sprayed and hit with riot police nightsticks?

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)- Riot police used pepper spray and struck some demonstrators with batons after ordering hundreds of people to leave a protest near a hotel where President Bush attended a fund-raiser.

Protesters hammered on the hoods of police cars as pepper spray wafted through the air. Protesting Bush's foreign policy, they chanted "Drop Bush, Not Bombs."

Bush supporters in formal attire were jostled and taunted by protesters as they arrived for a fund-raiser for the re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith. After elbowing through the demonstrators, they were checked by Secret Service agents before they were allowed inside the hotel.

Not the way to treat the people. [By the way, the entire trip to Oregon was to support a local Republican candidate. The Shrub made no public appearances; you had to pay up front--a lot--to see him.] The photos say a lot.
Police seemed unprepared by the size of the crowd, not providing traffic control for motorists whose evening commute suddenly ground to a halt.

The bulk of the crowd moved from barricade to barricade, chanting slogans, beating drums and yelling at police until abruptly pulling back and moving to another barricade.

But the confrontations turned violent at a barricade at the intersection of Southwest Sixth Avenue and Taylor Street when police decided to push the crowd back, first with nightsticks and then with pepper spray.

The Oregonian reported that the demonstration lasted seven hours.
The protesters represented peace groups, labor unions, environmental organizations, churches, low-income advocates and, overwhelmingly, just themselves.

They were irate over Bush's plan to relax environmental standards for logging, a possible war with Iraq, the U.S. stand on the Palestinian question and what they called rampant government corruption, among other issues.

Mustn't report this stuff outside Portland. It might be catching.

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Published on August 23, 2002 8:54 PM.

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